Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yeast Biscuits


Yeast, or Angel, Biscuits
I just felt like making a different kind of biscuit for breakfast today.  I felt this last night, and that's when I started looking for recipes on the internet.  I halved the recipe I found at The Fresh Loaf, and it made about 13 biscuits.  I think I could have put in 14, but I sort of ran out of room in my skillet.
These biscuits really are a yeast roll-biscuit hybrid.  They are very soft and pillowy on the inside,  with a slightly crisp exterior right out of the oven.  The crumb is tender, but there's a density and chew that are distinctly yeasty.  They smell heavenly, which is perhaps where they got their name.  I've eaten three already just to have something to say here.  I might need another if I want to write more.

Angel Biscuits
     Adapted from The Fresh Loaf

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients together.  Cut in butter until well mixed.  Add buttermilk and dissolved yeast all at once.  Stir until all flour is moistened.  Store in container in refrigerator 2-24 hours before using. 
Preheat oven to 400°F.  On floured board, roll out dough to 1" thickness and cut with 2 inch biscuit cutter.  Place cut biscuits in a large cast iron skillet, preferably preheated as well. Brush with melted butter.  Bake at 400°F for 12-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 12-14 biscuits




Sunday, December 25, 2011

Croissants

Fresh baked croissants.
This croissant was enjoyed with some Nutella.

The first time I made croissants, I think I was in high school.  It was a warm summer day, and they turned out flat and greasy.  Very disappointing.  I don’t think I tried them again until I moved to Iowa, at which point I was an adult with a Kitchen-Aid mixer and about 15 more years of baking and cooking under my belt. 
I was preparing for the Iowa State Fair food competition, and I wanted to make a cinnamon roll with croissant dough.  I must have tried during cooler weather, because they actually came out pretty good.  Not awesome, but not flat and greasy either.  I eventually won first place for a non-traditional cinnamon roll made with croissant dough, and in the process, I’ve honed my croissant-making skills.  I’ve also won ribbons for these butter croissants and chocolate croissants.  Now, they don’t seem like a tricky big deal.  They still do take a lot of time, but most of that time is time the dough is in the fridge.  Actual hands-on time doesn’t amount to much, so once you get the hang of them, they're pretty easy.  
In the process of learning to easily make croissants, I’ve discovered some things that I’ll pass along here:
1. If you’ve read other croissant recipes, you’ve probably seen the instructions about making a “butter square” that you either freeze or refrigerate and then envelope in your dough.  Somewhere along the way, I found a recipe that called for beating cool butter with a little flour and spreading it over two thirds of the rolled out dough.  I’ve found that this method works for me, as the butter square method produced nuggets of butter that created pools of butter that my croissants would fry in.  Gross.  I’m certain that there are tons of bakers out there who can successfully pull of the butter square, but I am not one of them.
2. Make sure your kitchen isn't too warm.  Wintertime is fine if your house is about 70 degrees, but in the summertime, the heat and humidity will mess with the dough.  I suggest keeping your house cold if you’re doing this during warm weather.
3.  Go the extra mile and use UNsalted butter for this recipe.  It makes a difference.
4.  The dough isn't as delicate as you'd think.  Don't be afraid of it.
5.  Make sure the butter you fold into the dough isn't too soft and that your dough is cold.  It keeps the butter from breaking through.
6.  A couple of handy tools are a quilting ruler (not sure of the official name, but it's big and plastic) a pizza cutter, and a clean, dry pastry brush to brush off excess flour.
7.  You can prepare the dough, and even shape the croissants, the night before you want to bake them.  The dough and/or the shaped croissants can do a slow rise in the fridge over night.  If you’ve shaped the croissants the night before, pull them out of the fridge while the oven preheats for 30-40 minutes.


Croissants
Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups milk, cold
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, but not hard
  • 1 T unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 tsp water, beaten
Instructions
1.  Whisk 3 cups flour together with the yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Place the milk in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the flour mixture and kneed at low speed until a ball of dough forms.  Cut the 2 T butter into small pieces and add to the dough.  Continue to knead until the butter becomes fully incorporated and the dough becomes smooth, begins to form a ball, and clears the sides of the bowl.  Add up to ¼ cup more flour, one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Place the 2 ½ sticks of butter and 1 T flour into the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat until butter is uniformly smooth and creamy. 
3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.  Roll dough into 10 x 14-inch rectangle.  Spread butter evenly over the bottom 2/3 of the rectangle.  Fold unbuttered third onto the middle third.  Dust off any excess flour with a clean, dry pastry brush.  Then fold that onto the bottom third.  Seal edges with side of your hand.
4. Gently roll the dough into about a 7 x 12-inch rectangle, and fold into thirds again.  Roll out again into a 10 x 14 inch rectangle.  Make sure that the butter doesn’t break through.  IF it does, sprinkle with flour.  Fold into thirds so you have a long rectangle.  Fold once more so you have a chubby square or rectangle.  Wrap loosely in wax paper or plastic wrap and place in an unsealed gallon size zip top bag.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place chilled dough on a floured surface and gently roll dough into a 20-inch square.  Using a pizza cutter and ruler, cut the dough into two equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle into thirds widthwise and then into triangles to make a total of 12 triangles.
7.  Form each croissant by taking a triangle , hold the base in one hand, and the tip in another.  Gently stretch into an isosceles triangle with two sides equal in length.  With the base closest to you, cut a 1-inch slit into the center of the base of each triangle.  Fold the two sides of the slit outward and then with both ands, roll the triangle from the base, gently stretching the dough as you roll, leaving ¼ inch of the tip unrolled.  Transfer the croissants to the prepared baking sheets, facing the croissant tips downward.  Bring the ends of the croissants toward each other to form a crescent shape. Cover the croissants loosely with plastic wrap.  Let them rise at room temperature until puffy, about 45-60 minutes.  (They will not double in size.)
8.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  When croissants are done rising, place one baking sheet in the refrigerator while you bake the first one.  Brush the croissants with the beaten egg.  Bake until croissants are golden brown, 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back halfway through baking.  Cool the croissants on a wire rack at least 15 minutes.


The croissant on the left was cut from a long strip of dough,
creating isosceles triangles (see below),
and the one on the right was cut from a rectangle
that was cut into two triangles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mascarpone Frosting Filled Chocolate Wafers

Mascarpone Frosting Filled Chocolate Wafers
The FAMOUS Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
I've been looking for these Nabisco Chocolate Wafers for what feels like a long time, to no avail.  Now that it's the holiday season, though, they all of a sudden show up on the shelves of every grocery store I go to.  Odd, but good.  
The reason I've been looking for them is because I've wanted to make this simple dessert that was brought to my school for us teachers one parent-teacher conference night a few years ago.  All this parent did was put dollops of sweetened whipped cream between Nabisco Chocolate Wafers.  There were three wafers and two layers of whipped cream in these things.  The lovely thing about them, aside from the deep chocolate flavor contrasted with the light creaminess of the whipped cream, was that the wafers were not crisp at all, but soft, like an ice cream sandwich.  So, it was like eating a small, light ice cream sandwich.  Mmmmm.  
Of course, I can't leave well enough alone, so my first batch of these babies have been made with the mascarpone frosting I've used in my whoopie pies and my chocolate birthday cake.  Oh my goodness.  Just as delicious as I'd anticipated.  Thick sweet creaminess from the mascarpone frosting, and tender chocolate flavor from the wafers.  This dessert is so easy and so quick.  I'll be doing this again.


Mascarpone Frosting Filled Chocolate Wafers

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions:
 In a mixer bowl, cream mascarpone, vanilla extract & sugar.  Add cream and whip on high until stiff.  
Scoop frosting into a sturdy zip-top bag.  Snip off 1/2 inch from one corner.  Evenly squeeze about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons frosting on the bottom of a wafer and then gently top with another wafer.  Repeat until you've used all the wafers.  
Makes 20 sandwiches.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Caramels


Chocolate Dipped Caramels
These are great.  I want to eat them all.  It's late, and I just wanted to complete this post.  I'll write more another day. 

Chocolate-Dipped Nut Caramels

Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts toasted
  • seeds scraped from a 1-inch segment of vanilla bean pod
  • 9 ounces of good milk chocolate, tempered (I like to use Dove Milk Chocolate) 
Instructions
1. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with non-stick aluminum foil.  Set aside.
2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.  Once it comes to a boil, cook without stirring until mixture reaches 240°F.  Remove pan from heat.  Add nuts and vanilla seeds, stirring well to combine.  Pour into prepared dish.  Allow to cool for 1-2 hours.
3. Using foil as handles, lift caramel from dish.  Remove foil, and place caramel on a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares. (I like to use a pizza cutter and a plastic quilting ruler as a guide to get perfect squares.)
4. Line a flat cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.  Melt chocolate over double boiler, and temper it.  Drop 3-4 caramel cubes into the chocolate at a time, and remove with two forks, tapping one fork on the other to remove excess chocolate.  Place carefully on prepared cookie sheet.  When all caramels are coated, set aside and allow chocolate to firm up at room temperature.
Makes 64 caramels.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls
I think I originally got this recipe from Allrecipes.com, but I don't know for sure if this is the right link. I've modified it a little bit because they were much too sweet with all the sugar called for. These are things I only make at Christmastime, mostly because they're pretty labor intensive with all the chocolate dipping. People love them, though, and they did win a blue ribbon at the 2008 Iowa State Fair.  
I love these for their crunch. You get the peanut crunch from the peanuts in the crunchy peanut butter, but you also get a finer crispy kind of crunch from the graham cracker crumbs. Of course, they are peanut buttery, and the chocolate just rounds out the flavor and texture and makes it all just fabulous. If you're looking for a peanut butter ball recipe, I think this is one of the best. 

Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups chunky peanut butter
  • 3 T creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick of butter, softened, but cool
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (only if not tempering chocolate)
  •  1/3 cup salted peanuts, halved, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
1. Mix together peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.  Shape into 1-inch balls.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
2.  Melt chocolate chips and shortening in top of double boiler (or melt and temper the chocolate). Dip balls into chocolate and set on waxed paper.  (Use a toothpick to poke and dip each ball, or else use two forks.) Garnish with a ½ peanut on top.  Allow chocolate to firm up before serving.
Makes about 56 balls



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Coconut Pecan Caramel Corn

Coconut Pecan Caramel Corn
I do have more pressing things to do with my time, like lesson planning, laundry, cleaning, etc.  But as I do some of those things, my mind wanders to possible yummy things I could make.  As I was cleaning off my kitchen counters today, I found some leftover toasted coconut I had from my last batch of Nanaimo Bars, and I didn't want to throw it away.  So I decided to add it, and even more coconut and chopped pecans to a batch of caramel corn: Coconut Pecan Caramel Corn.
It tastes great, but I'll have to tweak the recipe a little since a lot of the coconut & pecans didn't stick very well.  They still taste good scooped up by themselves, but I wanted it stuck to the caramel corn.  
This caramel corn is just another fun way to eat myself silly.  

Coconut Pecan Caramel Corn

Ingredients

  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 C light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 4-6 quarts plain popped popcorn (I pop mine on the stove with some canola oil; airpopped is good too)
  • 1 cup flake coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted
Instructions

Preheat oven to 250°.

Put brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high until butter is mostly melted and then stir to combine ingredients. Bring to a boil by cooking on high for about 2 minutes. Remove and stir to combine all ingredients; then stir in baking soda.

Put popcorn into a huge bowl and top with coconut and chopped pecans. Pour above syrup stuff over popcorn, coconut & nuts, and mix thoroughly. Spread popcorn onto two non-stick cookie sheets. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, rotating pans between top and bottom shelves. Remove from oven.  Allow to cool completely on pans and then move to an airtight container.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Rainbow Cheesecake

Rainbow Cheesecake
My husband StumbledUpon a picture of a rainbow cake one day, and I thought it was so gorgeous that I immediately started thinking of other baked goods that would look good in rainbow colors.  The cheesecake was one of the first things I thought of, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out.  
Since then I've seen other pictures of "rainbow cheesecakes," but they don't do justice to the name.  To me, a rainbow needs to be vibrant, not pastel, and I think you can see that this cheesecake fits the bill.  To get this kind of color, I don't think you can use the Cake Mate colors you get at the grocery store.  You're going to have to go to a hobby store like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, or Michaels and get some real gel paste food color, like the ones pictured below from AmeriColor.  It's worth the trip.  Price-wise, the gel paste doesn't cost too much: $1.75/bottle.  If you mix your own colors, you only need to buy three.  I recommend buying purple though, because I have yet to mix a pretty purple on my own.  
This cheesecake is not only pretty, but it's tasty too.  The picture at the top is my second whole rainbow cheesecake, and I decided to try smoothing out the colors after each addition.  I think I like the bumpy look of my first attempt pictured below.  In that case I just squeezed the color evenly over the bottom layer and left it unsmoothed before adding the next layer.  
I've also made an American flag version of this cheesecake too using this technique, for my brother-in-law's citizenship celebration. Either way, it's a fun and tasty cheesecake.

Rainbow Cheesecake

Prepare one day in advance and refrigerate overnight for best results.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Crust:           
  • 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
Mix together and put in bottom of a 9" spring form pan that's been lined on the bottom with a parchment circle. *I like to crush my graham crackers in a zip top bag.  I use a rolling pin to crush them.  Then I mix the sugar into the crumbs in the bag and then the melted butter.  I squish it all around with my hands and pour it into the pan.  Saves washing one more bowl.
If you don't have a plastic roasting bag to use for this, you will want to cover the bottom of the pan with 2-3 layers of heavy duty foil to keep the water out from the water bath you will use during baking.

Filling: 
  •   4 8oz. cream cheeses @ room temperature
  •   4 eggs @ room temperature
  •   2 tsp. vanilla
  •   1 cup sugar
  •   1/2 cup heavy cream
  •   1/2 cup sour cream
  •    blue, yellow, red, and purple gel food coloring
Topping:
  •  8 oz. sour cream
  •  2 T sugar
  •  1/2 tsp. vanilla 
Mix together while cheesecake bakes.


Making the Cheesecake:

Cream cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.  Stir in heavy cream until incorporated.

Set six unzipped sandwich sized zip top baggies in six small cups.  Place a 1/2 cup of batter into each baggie.  Pour the remaining batter into a gallon sized zip top baggie—this will remain white.

AmeriColor makes GREAT gel food color.
 
Batter colors mixed & ready to go

Three layers down; 9 to go.
Mix batter with food coloring to produce one baggie each for the following colors: blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and purple.  Start with two or three drops of color and gently squish around with your hand.  Add more food coloring if necessary.  Zip tops when done mixing colors in.

Start with the baggie of plain white batter.  Cut about 1/4 inch off one of the corners of the baggie and “pipe” in enough to just cover the crust in the bottom of the pan.  Carefully set bag aside with the cut tip pointing upward and the "top" tightly zipped.   Next, cut 1/4 inch off the green, and pipe squiggled lines all over the top of the white batter.  Try to cover the white as much as possible, but know that there will still be some white patches left.  Pipe on a layer of white, and this time, try to cover as much of the green as possible while still making sure there's enough white for all the other layers. Then pipe with blue, and so on, alternating colors with the white until you’ve used all the colors in the rainbow pattern.  Hopefully you’ll have enough white left for a final layer of white on top.

Place the pan in a large plastic roasting bag (like the ones used for turkeys), and then place that in a large roasting pan and pour in very hot water to reach half way up the pan sides, being careful not to splash water onto cheesecake.

Bake at 350° for about 60 minutes or until cheesecake has risen and center is set.  Remove from oven and pour sour cream topping mixture on top and smooth out.  Return cheesecake to oven for another 5-10 minutes.

As soon as you take pan out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to release the cheesecake from the sides.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate overnight.
Rainbow Cheesecake my first try.  This was made in a 9" pan.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grandma Kelly's Parkerhouse Rolls


Grandma Kelly's Parkerhouse Rolls

These rolls are a family tradition.  Outsiders don’t necessarily adore them the way my brother and I do.  My Grandma Kelly would make these before we’d visit, freeze them, and then serve them to us  each morning piping hot from the oven.  I kind of think she probably made other breakfast foods to go with the rolls, but I don’t recall eating anything else but these as I sat in her cozy kitchen in the Santa Cruz mountains, watching game shows with Grandpa Kelly as he sat in his EZ chair next to the kitchen table.

These rolls have a nice thin crust on the outside, and are light, moist, and tender on the inside.  Because you butter the dough and fold it over, they're easy to open up to butter the middle again once they're baked.  Yeah, these aren't low fat.  Piping hot with melty butter.  So good.  Mmmm…I could eat half a pan by myself.  They’re also delicious eaten with leftover turkey and gravy.

Grandma Kelly’s Parkerhouse Rolls


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 8 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 stick butter (maybe more)
Instructions:
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, scald the milk (bring just to a boil).  Pour into a very large heat-proof mixing bowl.  Add 1 stick butter.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to melt butter and then cool slightly.
In a small bowl, mix the yeast and 1/3 cup warm water.  Sprinkle with a little sugar so that when it activates, you’ll be able to see it’s alive by the bubbling action.
When the milk/butter mixture is just warm (105°-115°F), whisk in mashed potatoes, sugar, salt, and yeast mixture.  Whisk in 4 cups of flour.  Then whisk in beaten eggs.  Switch to a sturdy spoon and stir in the remaining 4 cups of flour.  Stir until well mixed.  Dough will seem more like a thick batter than a bread dough.
Place in a very large greased bowl (I use my Tupperware “That’s a Bowl”), sprinkle with a little flour, cover with plastic wrap and a clean wet dish towel.  Set in a warm place to rise.  Let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.
While dough rises, butter 5 cake pans (I use disposable aluminum) and preheat oven to 400°F.  Soften second stick of butter on a microwavable plate in the microwave.  Flour a sheet pan to hold the cut rolls before they go into the pan.
Once dough is doubled, punch down and then turn out onto a well-floured surface.  Generously sprinkle with more flour.  Flatten to about one-inch thickness.  Cut into circles with a 2” biscuit cutter. Set circles aside on the floured sheet pan.
Gently knead scraps and cut more circles until you can cut no more.
Take one circle at a time and dip half of one side in the softened butter.  Fold circle in half and press deeply along the rounded edge with your fingertips.  Place shaped rolls into pan around the outside first, and then make an inner circle.  Fill each pan up.
Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled. 
Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, or get one out quickly and put some butter in the middle and enjoy. 
Serve hot or allow to cool completely, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and freeze.  Reheat by placing in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes.  That’s how I would enjoy them for breakfast at Grandma’s house.
Makes 5 pans of rolls.
Buttered and ready to be enjoyed.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Pretzel Rolls


Pretzel rolls fresh out of the oven.

I've had a couple of encounters with pretzel bread.  First, my friend Debbie, who spent her adolescence in Germany, would talk about walking to the bakery and buying fresh pretzel rolls that were one of her favorite foods in all of Germany.  Second, my friend Shana was craving pretzel bread after seeing it for sale at the grocery store.  She figured she could make it herself and save some money, but when she did, she only met with disappointment.  Of course, being the vain baker that I am, I took that as a challenge and I found this recipe at Two Bites in Suburbia.  My first loaves came out perfectly shiny and well-browned on the outside; dense and soft on the inside.  Mmmmm (see end of post pic). Because having a whole loaf of pretzel bread seems awkward, I turned them into pretzel rolls, like my friend Debbie described.  If you're into trying new yeast rolls, and you love soft pretzels, you've got to try these.  So, so good.

Pretzel Rolls
  -- Adapted from Two Bites in Suburbia
Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast 
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup water (110-120 degrees)
  • 2 Tbsp room temperature milk
  • 4 quarts water (for boiling)
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • additional butter (optional)
  • Kosher or pretzel salt to taste
Instructions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, brown sugar and yeast.  Mix in 1 cup water, milk and butter until a dough ball forms, and then knead on medium low for another minute.

The dough should form a slightly tacky, but firm ball.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.   After 30 minutes, knead again for about 8-10 minutes.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and gently degas it.   Cut dough into twelve relatively equal pieces.  Form into balls and set on a lightly floured piece of wax paper.  
video
Drop balls three or four at a time into the baking soda bath for 30-60 seconds, turning once to guarantee both sides covered.  Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Sprinkle the kosher salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and use a sharp knife to cut a small incision on the top of the bread so the dough has somewhere to expand.
Cook the bread for 18-22 minutes, or until deep pretzel brown, rotating the baking sheet once.  Brush with melted butter, if desired.  Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

These freeze really well, and are a great little snack.  Just pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, and it's soft and warm.

Makes 12 rolls.


The perfect pretzel bread that I can't replicate.



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